Rizzo is a Loser

Chapman goes to the Dodgers, O’Day stays with the Orioles, Stammen gets non-tendered.  And now Rizzo makes a public statement that he would welcome Papelbon back for 2016.  Oh yeah, the Nats fans (all 6 of them) are happy now!  And I forgot to mention what good news it was to hear we will have the same hitting coach next year.  This is the guy responsible for the weak team clutch-hitting in the late innings and the poor record of “come-from-behind” wins last year.

Mike, how are the season-ticket sales going?

Papelbon—-The End?

Since I wrote about Pap and his family moving out of the house they had been living in (in Alexandria, Va.), I have seen more info from his neighbors that confirms their departure.  Hope so.

Besides reflecting very badly on Mike Rizzo, this fiasco also indicates the Lerners don’t lose much sleep over “character issues” either.

Papelbon News

It’s good news!  He and his family just moved out of their house (which they bought just last month) last weekend!  Good riddance, even though the team will need to acquire a new closer.  A friend of mine who lives next door to Drew Storen told me the other day that Drew said to him that he wants “a change of scenery.”  I don’t blame him.

The Nats bull-pen has been terribly mis-managed by both ex-Manager Williams as well as Mike Rizzo.  Rivero, Stammen and maybe Carpenter are the only ones I would consider keeping.

Stay tuned.

I’m Keeping One Eye on Chris Davis’s Free Agency

If Davis turns down the Orioles qualifying offer and becomes a free agent, the Nats should make him an offer he cannot refuse!  He hits from the left side and is a good defender at both 1B and the corner outfield positions——-just what the Nats need.  Also he is “good in the clubhouse.”  That means that as the Nats show “Paps” the exit, and Davis walks in the other door the clubhouse improves by a factor of 2+.

OK, I realize there could well be some unintended consequences to the above, and also that with Mike Rizzo’s steady bungling over the past 15 months or so that he may have permanently lost his touch.  The team might be forced to drop either Clint Robinson or Matt Den Dekker for example.  But a Davis acquisition has a huge up-side that is hard to ignore.

More on the Case to send Rizzo Packing

One more brilliant move by the man claiming to be a major league GM.  Trading Tyler Clippard to save money!  He then proceeded to pay out more than Clip would have cost for the guy who tried to strangle the best player on the team, and Casey Janssen who had just a few problems holding Nats leads in the late innings.  If the Nats had had Clip, Stammen and Storen for the whole year, I’d bet they would have won 5-8 more games.

Clean Sweep!

So they have fired not only Williams but the entire coaching staff.  The consensus in the Nats fan world appears to be that Mike Rizzo ought to go too; I agree.  Please close the door on your way out.

Rizzo’s bad moves are too many for a short thing, but the list starts with Papelbon!  This was such a ridiculoudly bad move that it ought to be enough to demand his head.  But then there was paying McClouth about $10-11 mill a year to do nothing.  Telling (not asking) Escobar to play 2B and playing Rendon where he should be, 3B!  Putting together a woefully bad bullpen.  I could go on but now I must go deal with the real world:)

The 11 That Got Away

First, we have to marvel at the game Scherzer pitched last night!  I want a DVD of this gem.  Striking out 9 straight the third time thru the Mets batting order was the frosting on the cake!  In both no-nos Max was one fluke play away from a perfect game.  And I think he had three one-hitters this season too.

The Post has a great article today (by James Wagner) about the 11 games the Nats should have won but didn’t.  The main culprit was their bullpen, constructed by Mike Rizzo and mis-managed by Matt Williams.  These games made the difference between winning the division and not even making the playoffs.

Another thing for us to ponder is this:  If the Nats had not spent a small fortune on Scherzer, they would have had money around the date of the trade deadline to shore up the bullpen (and would not have acquired Mr. Pap-smear).  They could have got either Chapman or Kimbrel instead, plus one or two others.

What if?

More Nats Info at the End of the Season

The scuttlebutt and rumors are now building on Matt Williams’ departure.  He will be gone very soon.  Papelbon should go with the same speed, but his contractual details may take the lawyers a bit more time.

The acquisition of Pap clearly really upset team chemistry, which had always been pretty good.  But the worst effect was clearly on Drew Storen, who was having a great season with 29 saves up to that point.  He may now be “un-salvageable.”  So the Nats may be faced with having to find another closer for 2016, and THAT is always very difficult.

Thursday’s Washington Post (9/30) had two great articles.  One was about how the trade for Pap, and Williams’ bad running of the bullpen, along with his poor communications with the players all combined to send the Nats into their season-ending tailspin.  Barry Svrluga wrote this article, based on a whole season of talking with the players.  His best quote was when Jason Werth said to Matt Williams “When do you think you lost this team.”  I tried to import a link to the article but apparently the Post has made that impossible to do.

The second article (same date by Kevin Blackistone) is about how Bryce Harper was quoted, commenting on Papelbon’s beaning of Manny Machado), essentially saying it is time for pitchers to stop intentionally hitting batters who had show-boated a little after hitting a homer.  This has long been one of baseball’s “unwritten rules.”  What made Papelbon’s  act so reprehensible was that he threw AT MACHADO’S HEAD!  I applaud Harper for having the maturity at the tender age of 22 to stand up against  a “rule” that needs to go away.

The Nats will have a lot of work to do during the off-season if they want to be a contender in 2016.

 

Coming Roster Changes

I expect Matt Williams and Jonathan Papelbon to be gone very soon after the season ends.  One pretty good un-employed manager out there now is Bud Black (recently let go by the Padres), but I don’t know him well enough to say the Nats should go get him.

I considered not doing this blog any longer when Mike Rizzo acquired Pap, because it showed me he no longer had any clue what the Nats needed and had really lost his way.  He has not put together anything near an effective bullpen.  For that alone I think the Nats also need a new GM.  Not keeping RZimm or Span are 2 more bad decisions.

If the Nats can afford Scherzer then they can afford RZimm too.  They should also make Span an offer for a 1 or 2 year contract.  RZim’s health is a big concern but they won’t part with him, he’s just too good when healthy!

The Nats offense is just too inconsistent to keep hitting coach Schu.  Have the new manager bring a replacement.

Behind the plate both catchers are pretty good and I don’t see any better ones becoming available.  But if a better one does appear on the market the Nats should try to get him.

A Cancer in the Dugout!

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Readers already know I thought the Papelbon trade would turn out badly (see several previous posts).  His ridiculous beaning of Machado in the recent Orioles game and now attacking Bryce Harper in the dugout today will hopefully bring Mike Rizzo to his senses.  It is time to end the “Pap-smear.”  He has shown repeatedly over the years that he is an “it’s all about ME” player who doesn’t belong in the Nats clubhouse.

Acquiring “Pap” was a bad mistake from the get-go.  They needed a set-up pitcher, not another closer.

The Lerners need to step up to the plate and get rid of Rizzo, Matt Williams, and Papelbon the day after the end of the season.